As a landlord, you do your best to keep your good tenants happy and satisfied. Unfortunately, there are times that, no matter what you do, you end up with bad tenants.
It’s one of the risks that come with investing in residential real estate properties. When it comes to a tenant not paying rent, you have to have a plan of action for dealing with the situation. Here are the steps to take when confronted with a tenant not paying rent:
Talk to your tenant
The first thing a landlord should do when having any problem with their tenants is talk to them, calmly and fairly. Their failure to pay might only be a temporary issue - especially at this time of year. Hopefully you can come to some arrangement about when you can expect to be paid or at least get some money towards the rent and organise when the rest is coming. It's always best to find out sooner than later if there is going to be a problem so you can both work around it.
And remember to always stay professional in your dealings with your tenants. If you conduct yourself reasonably from the very beginning it's going to stand you in good stead should you have to take further measures.
Send a Notice of Late Rent
This is the first step to contacting the tenant not paying rent. This letter or email should include the following information: the rent due in detail including which months are owed, any late fees that the tenant has incurred, and a statement saying that you will take legal action if the payments are not made very soon.
While this step is not one of the notices required from the landlord by law to start the eviction process, it can very well solve the problem. If a good tenant has somehow genuinely forgotten about a payment and needed a reminder, this will be it. If a bad tenant is intentionally not paying, the warning for legal action may be the push he/she needs to pay.
File for Eviction
If all the previous steps have failed with your tenant not paying rent, then you will have to go down to the courthouse and fill out the paperwork for an eviction hearing. Bring your copy of the documents, as you might have to prove that you have already taken this initial step before filing for eviction. There will be fees to pay as well, so be prepared for that.
When the paperwork is complete, an eviction hearing will be scheduled . Then, you’ll have to show up to the court hearing. Be sure to have any evidence and records with you to prove your case. Look presentable and stay calm. Follow all the directions from before, and, hopefully, you will have no problem getting a judgment in your favor.
You may have to hire someone from the local law enforcement to remove the tenant by force from the rental property if the tenant is still refusing to leave. After the hearing, however, the law is on your side and you have the right to force your tenant out.
The first time a tenant pays rent late, take it seriously and communicate with them. You want to set clear boundaries right away before your tenant stops paying rent and the situation gets out of hand.